Arlington County is now hoping to kick off construction work on an overhaul of Ballston’s Mosaic Park early next year, following years of delays prompted in part by cost overruns.
County officials are planning to finish renovations at the park, located at 538 N. Pollard Street just behind the Gold’s Gym parking lot, by the end of 2019. Planners unveiled an updated timeline for the park’s renovations at a community meeting last Wednesday (May 30), along with detailed designs for new features like a playground, plaza and athletic courts.
The county’s eyed upgrades at the park back in 2008, and initially hoped that construction could begin in 2013. But planning work stretched on for years, particularly after its estimated construction costs overran the project’s budget.
That forced the county to re-tool the project slightly to bring costs down, in part by eliminating some planned solar panels at the site that would’ve powered the park’s lighting and reducing the number of trees and plants to be installed around the park.
The Shooshan Company, which owns some nearby developments, agreed to fund the first phase of the $6.6 million project. The county is also hoping to add a basketball half-court to the site, but that work will come in a second phase of the project.
The county plans to award a construction contract next spring, and start work soon afterward. Officials hope to wrap things up by winter 2019.
Graphic via Arlington County
(Updated at 4:10 p.m.) Arlington County is adjusting its plan to upgrade and renovate Mosaic Park, the green space situated along N. Quincy Street in Ballston.
Though the county was slated to potentially break ground on the project last year — adding a public plaza, interactive water feature, multipurpose court, tree plantings and walkways — the plan hit a snag after its estimated construction costs overran its budget.
“The bids we received were higher than our budget, so staff is looking for ways to adjust the project in a manner that supports both our budget and our design,” said Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish. “We will be rebidding construction later this year.”
The overhaul’s timeline for construction is currently listed as “TBA” on the county website.
More on the project’s original design from Arlington County:
The Mosaic Park Design includes the following work as approved by Arlington County based on the approved 2009 master plan:
Development of a large flexible urban plaza, centrally located casual plaza, an interactive water feature, children’s play area, multi-purpose court, flexible use lawn area, half-court basketball area, rain garden, walkways and sidewalks, site furnishings, and landscaping, lighting for main pedestrian paths throughout, fencing, associated storm water management, drainage and grading for site improvements in compliance with the erosion and sediment control/storm water management ordinances as well as the Chesapeake Bay Ordinance.
A major feature of the park design will be to incorporate sustainable practices and features including use of solar power as well as innovative stormwater management techniques.
Mosaic Park, the largely unused green space in Ballston along N. Quincy Street next to the Gold’s Gym parking lot, is close to taking the next step toward its planned redesign.
Arlington County is still planning on adding a public plaza, interactive water feature, multipurpose court, tree plantings and walkways. On the Arlington County Board’s agenda this Saturday is a public hearing for a rezoning, changing the park, at 544 N. Pollard Street, from a residential zoning to “public,” which allows construction to begin on the new features.
“Currently, construction drawings are near completion and the County will soon be prepared to go to bid,” the staff report reads. The Shooshan Company has agreed to fund the $6.6 million costs of Phase I construction.
In 2012, in our last update on the future of Mosaic Park, we reported that the county still needed to acquire land to build the park. According to the latest staff report, the county has acquired four of the five parcels that make up the park, and a portion of the fifth.
The latest conceptual design plan for major improvements to Mosaic Park (544 N. Pollard Street), near Ballston, includes interactive water features, a playground, a multi-use court and a small lawn for play and picnicking.
The plan, from noted design studio Oculus, was revealed at a community meeting last week.
In addition to the water jets and playground equipment, the park will also have green power features — currently slated as an array of solar panels designed to generate the 1.2 kilowatts necessary to power the park while at the same time providing some desirable shade. Additionally, there will be “wooden platform seating” near the water features — similar to the seating along New York City’s High Line.
The Shooshan Company, which is behind the nearby and still-under-construction Founders Square development, will be footing the $6.6 million bill for the improvements, per an agreement with the County Board.
County planners say they’re not sure when exactly the park will be built, but they’re planning on construction beginning at some point in 2013. A second phase of the project, which is expected to include a basketball court and additional green space, has been planned, but depends on the county’s ability to obtain land from a private property owner.
Ballston’s 1.68 acre Mosaic Park will get a $6.6 million upgrade, paid for by the company behind the nearby Founders Square development.
On Saturday the county board approved a transfer of development rights from the park to the new development, adjacent to Ballston Common Mall.
As a result, Founders Square will now be taller and denser than before. A 15-story office building will become a 20-story office building, a 198-unit residential building will become a 257-unit residential building, and a 164-unit residential building will become a 183-unit hotel.
In exchange, the Shooshan Company, which is developing Founders Square at the corner of Wilson Boulevard and North Randolph Street, will pay $6.6 million for improvements to Mosaic Park, which is now a mostly empty field with some playground equipment.
“Our action today will help realize a long term County goal to provide a high-quality neighborhood park in Ballston,” County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman said in a statement. “By trading density from the park to Founders Square, the County has secured more than $6 million from the developer that will be used for improvements to Mosaic Park that will benefit the community.”